Luke 6:41-49



Last time, we began looking at Jesus’ condemnation of hypocrisy, comparing it with spiritual blindness. We saw that His seemingly incongruous statement in Luke 6:40 that “A disciple is not above his teacher…” makes more sense when taken in the context we see in Matthew 10:26-36 as Jesus gave this admonishment to His twelve apostles before sending them out for evangelism.
Jesus now continues with the allegory of hypocrisy as spiritual blindness.

Luke 6:41-42
41And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? 42Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
With this admonishment, Jesus returns to the subject of judging another’s sin. As we have seen, our hypocritical tendency is to regard our own sins as not being very serious. Indeed, our consciences may be so jaded by our sin, we may not even recognize our sins as sins. This is the part of our natures that Jesus warns us about here in this parable.
The danger caused by the hypocrisy of not recognizing our own sins is not only to ourselves. Surely it grieves the Spirit of God for us to continue to walk in sin, but also creates a danger to total strangers who look on our hypocrisy and turn away from God. If we say we are a new creation in Christ, but then continue to walk in sin, those who don’t know Jesus understandably question the validity of the Gospel itself.
Romans 2:21-24
21You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? 22You who say, “Do not commit adultery,” do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? 24For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written.
We must start with the recognition of our own sinful nature, and be continually on guard against our tendency toward hypocrisy. Jesus’ blood is powerful to cleanse us from all of our sins, including the sin of hypocrisy. In fact, as we saw earlier, all sins but blaspheming the Holy Spirit may be forgiven simply for the asking. But we must first recognize our sins as such, and confess them.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Thus our sins themselves have no power to condemn us.
Romans 8:1-2
1There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
But in order for us to receive salvation from our sins in Christ, we must first recognize our sins, and repent of them. Indeed, if – due to a seared conscience – we do not recognize that we are sinners, we are in real danger of being unable to receive His salvation.
1 John 1:10
If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
Not that we will be instantly free from sin when we accept Jesus as Lord. On the contrary. This is the vitally important distinction between the justification we obtain by the washing of Jesus blood in the hour we first believe, and the sanctification by God’s Spirit which perfects us into the image of Christ throughout our new lives in Him.
Praise God we have His wonderful promises to complete this work, lest we should despair of our own failure to honor His salvation by our lives.
Philippians 1:6b
He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
We know that even as new creations in Christ, we will continue to struggle against sin, and that we have the enabling power of God’s Spirit to do so. Yet, there is also a danger that we might not be able to recognize our sin. Not only are we in a sense powerless in ourselves to remove the beam from our eye, we also need God’s Spirit to reveal to us that the beam is even there. This is one of the functions of the Holy Spirit which Jesus tells of.
John 17:7-11
7Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
And so we pray as David did.
Psalm 139:23-24
23Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
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 We now see Jesus turn to the subject of false teachers.

Luke 6:43-45 (Matt. 7:15-20)
43“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
The parallel passage in Matthew 7:15-20 makes it clear that Jesus is speaking of false prophets.
Matthew 7:15
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep;s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
Although, as we saw in Luke 6:37, Jesus teaches that we are not to judge people’s hearts, we are most certainly taught to discriminate among teachings. This discernment is particularly critical as we near the end of the age with the soon return of Jesus Christ to redeem His bride. Jesus warned His disciples concerning this time.
Matthew 24:23-27
23“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25See, I have told you beforehand.
26“Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.
This naturally begs the question how we are to discern between the true prophets of God and the false prophets. This is particularly scary, since Jesus warns that even false teachers will be able to work seeming miracles, and thus deceive many. Furthermore, we know that Satan and his servants are able to appear beautiful and desirable as Paul warned the Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 11:12-15
12But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
People want to believe seeming miracles when they see them, or even hear about them. We’ve all heard the story about the “Virgin Mary” grilled cheese sandwich that a Miami woman sold on e-Bay for $28,000 in 2004. People flock to Benny Hinn “Miracle Crusades” hoping to witness miracles, and pour millions of dollars into his glitzy so-called “ministry,” but completely disregard the heretical, faith-shattering prosperity gospel that he preaches, or the obvious opulence of his personal lifestyle, and abuses of their faith in him. Jesus tells us here in Luke 6:43-44 that we must discern among teachings by observing the results, whether the fruits are of the flesh or of the Spirit.
Galations 5:19-23
19Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
1 John 4:1-3
1Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
But we need an objective means for evaluating the fruits of various ministries. Our hopes, dreams, and emotions will lead us astray just as Jeremiah warns us.
Jeremiah 17:9
“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
Only the Word of God provides the objective measure by which we can discriminate among various teachings, by showing us what the fruits of righteous teaching should look like. We must therefore be like the Bereans to whom Paul and Silas preached the Gospel after their preaching was rejected in Thessalonica.
Acts 17:11
These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
Note that the Bereans didn’t just glance at the Scriptures to confirm specific points, but searched them daily. We must make ourselves as familiar as possible with the entire counsel of God’s Word. Recall that the adversary began his temptation of Eve (Genesis 3:1-5) by calling God’s Word into question. Make no mistake. He knows the Word well, and is able to twist it to his own evil purposes. Recall in Luke 4:10-11 that he even tried to use God’s Word to tempt Jesus by misquoting Psalm 91. Even so, the false prophets of our own day are able to misuse Scripture. Beware of any teacher who takes a single verse, and then builds an entire teaching from it without ever referring back to the Word of God. The Word itself is the best expositor or the Word.
We too must rightly divide the Word of Truth, testing the teaching we receive by it, not merely accepting what a teacher proclaims based solely on the teacher’s reputation. Any teacher who is devoted to God’s Word will readily listen to constructive criticism of his teaching if such criticism is founded on the Word of God. Of course, the answer to such criticism must also be based on the Word. If the original teaching is found to be incorrect, a true prophet of God will accept correction in godly humility – such humility being one of the fruits of God’s Spirit.
In order to equip us for properly discerning false teaching from true, we must be as knowledgeable of the whole Word of God as we possibly can be.
Psalm 119:11
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
Furthermore, we must be continually vigilant. Time and again we have seen solid, well-founded, ministries like Fuller Theological Seminary stray from being true to the Word of God into abject apostasy and abuse. The instances of obvious abuse like the grilled-cheese sandwich and Benny Hinn’s earthly riches are easy to discern. What about seemingly righteous ministries which appear for years to bear proper fruit, but are then shown to be indulging in gross compromise and even outright thievery and debauchery? The revelations regarding Gospel for Asia and Hillsong which have come to light in the last few years are a cautionary tale. A ministry’s falling away from the Truth may be subtle and gradual. We must be continually on guard. As Peter and Paul warned…
1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
2 Timothy 3:13-17
13But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
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Finally, now, we come to the culmination of Luke’s report of the Sermon on the Mount. We have looked at Jesus’ blessings, and their corresponding woes, His admonition to love our enemies, and His proclamation of the Golden Rule. We have studied Jesus’ warnings about hypocrisy and false teachers.
Jesus closes this teaching with a warning about self-deception.
Luke 6:46-49 (Matt. 7:21-27)
46“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. 49But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great.”
As we learned from Jeremiah, people have a virtually infinite capacity for rationalization…
Jeremiah 17:9
“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
If we allow our deceitful hearts to rule over us, we can fall into hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and such deep deception that we may even fail to grasp our salvation in Christ. We know that our salvation doesn’t rest on our works. We are saved by grace through faith. But the question is, faith in what? We dare not place our faith in faith itself or in its trappings – by our having uttered a sinner’s prayer, or having been baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or having received communion, or having confessed our sins to a priest, or having received the gift of speaking in tongues, etc.
Our faith must be in Jesus alone, and His sacrificial death and resurrection by which He purchased us from the dead. As Paul so succinctly wrote to the church in Corinth.
1 Corinthians 2:2
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Recall that when Paul first went to Corinth and established the church there, he had just come from Athens, where he had attempted to persuade the learned men of the city to accept the Gospel through his argument that Jesus Christ is the “unknown god” to whom they had erected a shrine. Remember that Paul’s evangelism by way of sophisticated persuasions had not been very effective in Athens. Therefore, when he came to Corinth, he had determined to get back to the basics of the Gospel message in his preaching to the Corinthians.
We must do the same. The message of the Gospel is simple and direct.
  1. Jesus came to Earth as God in the flesh of man to live a perfectly sinless life so that He could become the needed spotless sacrifice for the atonement of mankind’s sin. 
  2. He died on the cross to become that needed sacrifice.
  3. Since Jesus is God the Son, death could not defeat Him, and on the third day after His crucifixion He rose from the dead. He was seen in His resurrected body by many of His followers and others, and then ascended to Heaven in their sight.
  4. He has completed the needed work for salvation of mankind through faith in Him alone – His birth in the flesh, His perfect life, His sacrificial death, His bodily resurrection, and His glorification in Heaven.

Nowhere in this Gospel is there the slightest hint of any action required on the part of those He will save, apart from simple belief in the Gospel itself. Once we have come to this saving faith (which is in itself a gift/calling from God – see Ephesians 2:8-9), Jesus then seals us as His own by His Holy Spirit (justification), and begins His work of sanctification in our hearts. This is the personal relationship with our Savior in which those who have been born again by the Spirit (about which Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3) partake.

Because of the capacity of our hearts to deceive even ourselves, it is possible for us to believe we have been saved, when we do not, in fact, know Jesus at all, and have not truly been born again and sealed by His Spirit. This is the self-deception that Jesus warns us about here in Luke 6:46. He expands upon this warning in the parallel passage in…
Matthew 7:21-23
21“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
So the question then is how we can know whether or not we are truly saved. This is the reassurance Jesus speaks of at the end of Luke 6. In short, those who love Jesus keep His commandments. This full commitment to follow Jesus will without doubt require sacrifice on the part of any true believer.
Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
2 Timothy 3:12
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
But as Jesus proclaims in likening His followers to one who founds his house on a rock, they will be able to withstand the tribulations that Jesus promises will surely come.
John 16:33
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
In closing, let’s look together at Jesus’ beautiful exhortation to His disciples on the night of His betrayal. Recall that they had just finished eating the Passover meal together, where Jesus had instituted the practice of communion in remembrance of His sacrifice. Afterward, Jesus had washed His disciples’ feet signifying that they too should minister to His flock and to each other. After Judas left the room to go and betray Him, Jesus gave one final pep talk to His disciples (and us).
John 14
1“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
5Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
7“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.”
8Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.”
9Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
12“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
15“If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
19“A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
22Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”
23Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.
25“These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.
29“And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe. 30I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. 31But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.
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